On Saturday, June 22, the Los Angeles Rams and Nike hosted their second 11-On Passing Tournament and Lineman competition for 16 varsity high school football programs across the Southern California region. The event engaged approximately 500 student-athletes and more than 100 coaches. Also making an appearance to show his support for the local high school football programs was Rams Legend and Super Bowl Champion JERRY WILKINSON.
The Passing Tournament consisted of pool play games along with a 7-on-7 single-game elimination tournament and the Lineman Competition featured challenges in bench press, tire flips, medicine ball tosses, 5-man sleds, relays and more. The championship-winning programs will be recognized at a Rams home game during the 2019 season.
Former NFL Running Back and Rams Community Affairs Representative JOHNATHAN FRANKLIN envisions the 11-On program ultimately becoming a headlining offseason event for high school football teams that provides a highly competitive and educational environment.
"We want to create a competitive structure for varsity high school football teams throughout the region with the goal of teaching football fundamentals while promoting teamwork and inclusion," said Franklin. "Our first two 11-On events have served 30 different high school teams and welcomed spectators from all over Southern California. I think this provides us an opportunity to make our brand accessible and create one of the most unique events in the high school football landscape."
In many ways, the 11-On framework differentiates itself from traditional high school 7-on-7 offseason programs. Having played his high school ball at Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, Franklin is all too familiar with local offseason passing leagues and the select position groups they intend to serve. As a result, he and Nike have worked diligently to create an event that also provides challenges and programming for non-skill players such as offensive and defensive linemen.
"High school student-athletes are in search for inspiration, role models and guidance, at least that was the case for me," said Franklin. "The purpose of these events is not only to connect with these student-athletes through the platform of football, but also to provide them opportunities to develop transferrable life skills through creating team chemistry with teammates and competing against others. When I was growing up, the skill players would miss half the summer traveling to compete in 7-on-7 competitions, leaving the linemen at school for practice. That affected team chemistry and provided less offseason opportunity for the entire team as a unit. The 11-On is designed to harness an environment for teams to develop their full roster at all positions and compete as collective units."
Furthermore, as winners of both the Passing Tournament and the Lineman Competition, Cathedral High School coach Anthony Jefferson was pleased with his team's accomplishments. He believes the event served as a great opportunity during the offseason to implement offensive and defensive installations, build team chemistry, and compete against different programs in preparation for the upcoming season.
"This was the first tournament that we played in since we've had the whole team together and I think it showed that everybody had bought in to what we were trying to do," said Jefferson. "The kids really enjoyed it because they love getting the free Rams shirts and stuff like that, but it also gives them a chance to play with some of the top programs in the area who we don't always have the chance to compete against. I know the kids are really excited to go to a Rams game and we can't wait to be there."
The participating high school varsity football programs in the second 11-On event were: Carson High School, Cathedral High School, Cesar Chavez High School, Crenshaw High School, Hamilton High School, John Muir High School, Legacy High School, Linda Marquez High School, Locke High School, Narbonne High School, Oaks Christian, Pacifica High School, Paraclete High School, Pasadena High School, South East High School, St. Bonaventure High School and Valencia High School
In March, the Rams and Nike hosted their first 11-On Passing Tournament & Lineman Competition which featured 14 high school varsity teams and engaged more than 20 student-athletes. Nike's 11-On program is a scholastic-based, team-oriented and character-building initiative in partnership with the NFL and its individual clubs. The previous 11-On event was the first touchpoint of the program and aimed to create more complete football players and teams, both on and off the field, through team building, football drills and leadership development.